Prayers for the family
In the Messianic community, there are few things that are more important than the prayers for the family. When you pray Blessings on your family members, it is an opportunity to ask God to make the words you speak a reality in your family’s lives. This is best illustrated in the Friday Night Prayers, better known as Erev Shabbat, the prayers that introduce the holy day of the Sabbath which begins at sundown on Friday night and ends on Saturday night at sundown.
As we look at the Erev Shabbat prayers note that all family members are included: The father, mother and the children. The father leads by reciting the Kiddush, the mother then leads in the candle lighting prayers and then there are the blessings for the mother, children and then the father ending with the Aaronic Blessing for all family members. As an option the mother may read Psalm 106:1-9 to bless her husband.
Erev Shabbat Service
You shall remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy...For six days you shall labor and be refreshed.
Shemot (Exodus) 20:8; 2:12
The children of Israel shall observe the Shabbat, to make the Shabbat an eternal covenant for their generations. Between Me and the children of Israel it is a sign forever that in a six-day period Yahweh made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day, He rested and was refreshed.
For six days labor may be done, but the seventh day is a day of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work. It is a Sabbath for Yahweh in all your dwelling places.
Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:3
If you turn your foot away from the Sabbath, from doing my pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of Yahweh honorable; and shall honor it, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: then you shall delight yourself in Yahweh, and I will make you ride on the high places of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Yaacov your father: for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it.
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 58:13-14
The woman of the home now lights the candles (usually with her head covered) and prays the following prayer:
Blessed are You Yahweh our God, King of the universe who sanctifies us in Yeshua the Messiah, ordered us to be a light to the world and to sanctify the Sabbath. Amein
(Traditionally, it is the woman of the home who has the honor of beginning Sabbath by lighting the candles. It is said that because it was a woman who was tempted and deceived by the serpent causing the light to be dimmed, it is a woman’s responsibility to light the Sabbath candles and bring the light back in. If for some reason she cannot light the candles because of illness, giving birth, etc. the obligation then is passed to the man of the home. Single men and women in their own households may light the candles.)
After lighting the candles, the woman of the home may also pray this prayer:
Father, continue Your lovingkindness to our entire family and grant us and all Israel a good and long life. Remember us with favor and blessing and consider us with salvation and compassion, bless us with great blessing, complete our families and cause Your Shekinah glory to dwell among us. Make me worthy to raise my children that they may walk in the way of wisdom and righteousness before You, loving and fearing You, following Yeshua our Messiah and your Torah. Keep us far from us all manner of shame, grief, and care; and grant that peace, light, and joy abide in our home forever. In the name of Yeshua.
Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom and cause His salvation to sprout, and bring near His Messiah in your lifetime, in your days, and in the life of all Israel, swiftly and soon.
Let his great name be praised eternally.
Exalted and honored, adored and acclaimed be Your name, O Holy One, blessed are You whose glory transcends all praises, songs, and blessings voiced in the world.
Birkhat HaBanim (Blessing the children)
(This is a very special part of Shabbat where the parents bless their children. The source of this comes from Genesis 48:8-20, and Malachi 3:23-24. In some homes only the father lays his hands on the children, in others, both parents lay hands on the children. If your child is away at school, etc. they may still be blessed by calling their names.)
The father (and mother) lay their right hands on the child and repeat the following blessing:
May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh
May God make you as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah
(After the blessing each child it is also nice to whisper something personal to each child, praising them for some accomplishment during the week.)
Eyshet Chayil (A Woman of Valor)
At this time the husband blesses his wife by reciting Proverbs 31:10-31 over his wife. The wife may also then bless her husband with a reading of Psalms 112.
Blessing of the Bread
(When the table is set the challah bread should be placed on a tray on the table and covered with a cloth)
The father or leader uncovers the challah bread, lifts it and give thanks:
Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.
He then breaks off some bread and passes to all who in turn break off a piece and eat.
Kiddush (Blessing of the wine)
Everyone should have some wine (or grape juice) already poured into their cup.
Blessed are you, Yahweh our God King of the universe who brings forth the fruit of the vine.
At this time all drink from their glass.
Father / Leader:
Let us all recite the Shema.
Shema Yisrael, Yahweh Elohenu, Yahweh Echad Baruch Shem Kavod Malchuto L’olam Vahed.
Hear O Israel, Yahweh is our God, Yahweh Alone Blessed be His glorious name, whose kingdom is forever and ever.
The Father (or whoever the leader may be) now recites the Aaronic Benediction:
May Yahweh Bless you and keep you. May Yahweh cause His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May Yahweh lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Everyone now greets each other with “Shabbat Shalom!” and dinner commences. During dinner, we discuss the Word. If the Torah has been read during the week, everyone is able to take part in the discussion.
Prayer for after the Meal
(Deuteronomy 8:10 instructs us to bless Yahweh after we eat, yet this is something that most believers even Messianics do not do. If you haven’t started, why not begin by making it a habit after the Sabbath meal? Then it will be an easy thing to add to your evening meals during the week. The prayer below is in part traditional, and I have added some verses from Scripture to remind us of the hope we have in Yeshua’s return.)
Father / Leader shall pray after the meal:
Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the universe, who, in His goodness, provides sustenance for the entire world with grace, with kindness, and with mercy. He gives food to all flesh, for His kindness is everlasting. Through His great goodness to us continuously we do not lack, and may we never lack food, for the sake of His great Name. For He, provides nourishment and sustenance for all, does good to all, and prepares food for all His creatures whom He has created, as it is said: You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. Blessed are You, Yahweh, who provides food for all.
We thank you father for the good land which you promised to our ancestors. We pray for the end of our captivity; that Yeshua would speedily return, and of His Kingdom, there shall be no end. Your glory shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it. We shall delight in Yahweh, and you shall cause us to ride on the high places of the earth. He shall feed us with the heritage of Yaakov, our father, for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it. It shall be said in that day, Behold this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us; this is Yahweh; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His Yeshua.
May the Merciful One grant us the privilege of reaching the days of the Messiah, and life in the world to come. In Yeshua’s name….